By Brent Huelsmann
The Nashville Hornettes bounced back from their two game losing streak with three straight wins this week, as they picked up their first SIRR Mississippi Division conference win over Sparta, before defeating SIRR Ohio Division foes Herrin and Benton. The Hornettes record stands at 7-2 on the season.
After dropping their first conference game in over a year, the Hornettes bounced back with a 56-24 win over the Sparta Lady Bulldogs. The Hornettes used a big second and third quarter, to run away with the victory. Sparta kept the game close in the first, as the Lady Bulldogs only trailed by four points at the end of the first.
But in the second, the Hornettes caught fire from behind the arc, as they hit four three pointers in the quarter, three of which came from Paige Kasten. The Hornettes used the three point shot to outscore Sparta 18-8 in the quarter and take a 28-14 lead at halftime.
As the teams came out for the third quarter, the Hornettes got a three right out of the gate from Rachael Kell and never looked back. The Hornettes led 48-22 at the end of the third and cruised in the fourth to an easy win.
After the game, coach Doug Althoff, talked about the win. “When a team plays zone like that, if you make shots it don't look very effective, but if you don't make one that zone gets pretty tough, and then the more you miss, the tighter you get, and the harder it is to shoot. But I thought we shot pretty well, and Paige was on fire tonight, and she can to that. She can get on a run, she made five in the first half. Then Rachael Kell made a couple, Libby made a couple. You make a few of those, then it opens up the middle, and Karly and Janie took advantage.”
Kasten led Nashville with 17 points in the game, 15 of which came on three pointers. Karly Stanowski finished with a double-double as she finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Libby Ahlers and Sophie Heck each finished with six points, followed by Janie Holle with five points. Kell added three points, while Emily Stern and Kylie Kozuszek each finished with two points.
The Hornettes were back on the court, on December 8 as they traveled to Herrin. The Hornettes overcame a nine point deficit going into the fourth, to win their seventh game of the season 43-41. Herrin led throughout the game, as they took a 12-9 lead after the first quarter, and a 19-15 lead at halftime. In the third, they were able to open up the lead to 35-27, but the fourth quarter was taken over by Nashville. The Hornettes got six points from Kasten, five from Holle, and four from Stanowski to get the comeback win.
Kasten led Nashville with 15 points, all coming from behind the arc. Holle was also in double figures with 13 points, followed by Ahlers with eight points. Stanowski rounded out the scoring with seven points.
The Hornettes won their third straight game, with a 30-22 win over the Benton Rangerettes in a low-scoring affair. The Hornettes held Benton scoreless in the first quarter, as Nashville held a 5-0 lead. The Hornettes' lead would eventually get as high as 12-0, but Benton came back with back-to-back three pointers to cut Nashville's lead in half.
After the game, coach Althoff talked about Benton's run in the second quarter. “I told them we were up 12-0 and they make two shots and they cut it in half already. That's just part of the game that we need to get better at. We need to keep the intensity up all the time. We'll get better, but defensively I thought all-in-all we were really good.”
At half, the Hornettes held a 16-11 lead. Coming out of the break, the Hornettes were able to build a double digit lead as they got three pointers from Kasten and Heck to build an 11 point lead going into the final stanza. The Rangerettes made a run in the fourth, but Stanowski made free-throws down the stretch to close out the game for Nashville.
After the game, Althoff talked about his team's defense. “We cant give up more than 30 points, because we struggle scoring too. You can always play defense. If you miss one, run down the floor and get back and play defense. Hopefully you can get them stop and then you just try again.”
Kasten led Nashville with 10 points, followed by Stanowski and Ahlers with six points apiece. Heck and Kell each added three points, while Holle had two points.